How to introduce dog to chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bluerose, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. bluerose

    bluerose Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    San Diego, CA
    My mom's aussie is FASCINATED with the chickens.... my little dog and the cat could care less (the cat will watch them while they're out scratching around but is FAR too lazy to consider chasing- it would be below his regal status anyways).

    When they were chicks and hanging out in a crate on the patio she would lay in front of them and drool and almost tipped the crate over once (which is when they moved into the garage). She'll go out and lay by their coop/pen and watch them.. this dog is INTENSE and you have to really get her attention to get her to come away from them. Otherwise you can WHISPER her name and she'll come running.

    I don't know if she'd try to hurt them- just herd them or maybe play a little too rough.

    Do you guys have any suggestions?
  2. domromer

    domromer Songster

    May 11, 2007
    I have a blue heeler who did the exact same thing. He would lay by their brooder all day and watch them. First time he got into the yard with the hens he grabbed a hold of my favorite hen. I think he was just playing but hens can't take that sort of play. She was fine but was dazed for a few hours. I'd be very careful if I were going to introduce them. This breed has a high prey drive and instinct to herd. Not very good for small edible things that move erratically.

    By domromer
  3. picklespickles

    picklespickles Songster

    Oct 27, 2007
    oh. i have a red heeler. (aussies and heelers are basically the same).

    you MUST beware of the chickens. i went outside the other day and it had gotten into the chicken yard and was plucking the feathers out of one of their bottoms. i could hear the screaming inside and ran out no glasses or anything. i had no idea what was happening. my goats just got attacked by roaming dogs last week so i was worried it was something like that again.

    it is the first time i every hurt that dog. i was screaming i'm going to kick the s*** out of you. (i didnt' actually do that, but i was furious.)

    to compare, i'm same person who has a cat, two other dogs, numerous free range chickens, goats and a duck that co exist and that i spent a lot of time working with to make that happen.

    i dont' think this breed has it in them to co exist.

    except with something larger (cows, larger dogs, etc.) that it feels dominated by. if they don't feel dominated, they don't take it seriosuly that they mustn't hurt it.

    he was a companion to the billy goat. but right now he is sleeping and pooping in my back room til i can get the fence fixed, probably tomorrow. was hoping today but so much had to be done.

    anyway. i have other dogs that can co exist. this heeler is very well fed and well tended to. but it will get the duck or chicken if it can. AND it is smart enough to act innocent when i'm around and then go for it when i can't see. so, that is not a good combo, the wiliness of it all.

    a dog can't play with a chicken. you're chicken will die of a heart attack at the least. i'm not joking. if he's truly just herding them, and you want him too, and you're right there, then that's one thing. but if it's not his job and he's just doing it to get close enough to get dinner or to kill them accidentally, then i really really think you should make sure he can't get near and reprimand him if he does.

    they are very smart, very good dogs. but also too smart for their own good.
  4. Henrietta23

    Henrietta23 Songster

    Oct 20, 2007
    Eastern CT
    Quote:I've got an Aussie myself but he's more of a Golden Retriever trapped in an Aussie body.[​IMG] He's never bothered my chickens at all. He's also almost totally blind. We've introduced 6 different dogs to chickens over the years, always taking it slowly. We'd let the dogs out in the fenced in backyard while the chickens were in their pen. Once the dogs were used to seeing the chickens in there we'd let the chickens loose with one of the dogs at a time until everyone was used to each other. The only "issue" we still have is our pug, Stan, who insists on charging at the girls whenever they are standing together. He goes at the middle causing them all to scatter. He must think it's really amusing or something. Since he doesn't have intentions of harming them, it kind of is!
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2007

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